We had a general contractor that we hired to build a spec house who near the end of the project was informed of issues with the work of his subcontractors that required correction. Instead of having them correct the work as requested, he went ahead and paid them and then asked us to pay him. He then liened my property for those payments. Can he lien my property for those payments made to subcontractors, or does he not have lien rights since he wasn’t the one that furnished the labor/materials? (Spec house, Texas).
The simple answer to your question is that he does have the right to lien your property for the work done by his subcontractors if he hired the subcontractors, the subcontractors actually did the work on the property, he paid the subcontractors for the work and you did not pay him. A contractor may file a lien under Section 53 of the property code if labor or materials has been provided under his contract, oral or written, and he has not been paid.
The more complex answer to the question is whether or not the lien that was filed is a valid lien. You seem to indicate with your question that the work may not have actually been performed, or if performed, was defective and you do not owe the contractor what he is demanding. If the contractor did not fulfill his portion of the contract, the lien he filed may not be valid. You can ask him to remove the lien, or bond around the lien. However Texas Property Code Section 53.160 provides an expedited procedure to remove an "invalid or unenforceable" lien. You will need a lawyer to file a Summary Motion with the district court and comply with all of the requirements, but it may be a way to quickly remove an invalid lien where you have paid the contractor all of the money that is owed and he has filed a lien anyway.
If the work related to the lien filing was actually performed and you have not paid the contractor for the work, you will probably need to pay for the work that has been satisfactorily completed and then argue with the contractor about the defective work. You will always (within 4 years) have a claim against the contractor for breach of contract if you have to hire someone else to come in and finish or repair his work. Your contract with the general contractor should also speak to your remedies for his failure to complete the project or any defective or warranty work.
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